Heinrich Büssing Prize for the most outstanding dissertation at TU Braunschweig Phillip Keldenich develops strategies for solving difficult problems
Computer scientist Dr Phillip Keldenich will be awarded the Heinrich Büssing Prize 2022 for his outstanding scientific achievements. The prize, endowed with 10,000 euros, is awarded annually by the “Stiftung zur Förderung der Wissenschaften an der Carolo-Wilhelmina” of the Braunschweigischer Hochschulbund (BHB).
When we use a navigation device, we expect it to get us to our destination quickly. With a few exceptions, this usually goes very well. “The problem of finding the shortest path to a destination is an easy one,” explains award winner Dr Phillip Keldenich. “Many important problems are easy, which means we have efficient algorithms with which we can calculate them optimally and thus solve them.”
But there are other problems that particularly appeal to Phillip Keldenich – and earned him the Heinrich Büssing Prize 2022: “There are problems that are verifiably difficult and for which it is very likely that no efficient algorithms can be found.” This applies, for example, to the question of how to steer a confusing number of warehouse robots through a warehouse to their destinations – with the greatest possible speed and without accidents. With hard problems like this, scientists often have to forgo finding a strategy that will give them an optimal solution. Instead, they look for a strategy that leads them to the best possible solution. For example, with a good solution, the storage robots reach the goal later than would be possible in the optimal case.
In his dissertation, Dr Keldenich developed strategies for finding good solutions to a whole group of difficult problems. And the special thing about it: “The solutions are guaranteed to deviate from the optimum only up to a certain degree – regardless of the conditions.” Thus, in a good solution of thousands of robots in a warehouse, even the last one arrives at its destination only a certain factor later than if it had driven through the empty warehouse. “A brilliant scientific achievement”, according to the jury, who awarded Dr Phillip Keldenich the Heinrich Büssing Prize – as the “most outstanding junior researcher at TU Braunschweig in 2022”. The prize, which is provided by the TU sponsor association Braunschweigischer Hochschulbund and its foundation, is endowed with 10,000 euros. The award ceremony will take place in the first half of 2023.
Dr Phillip Keldenich is currently working on his habilitation at TU Braunschweig’s Institute of Operating Systems and Computer Networks. He is concentrating on solving difficult problems that occur directly in applications.